Apr 232008

Effective Websites: Forwarding Email As Convenient Means To Enter Data

Two in-the-cloud apps I find really useful are HighRise and TripIt.

HighRise is a simple and elegant CRM system from 37signals.


TripIt manages your travel plans.


Tripit creates an integrated itinerary from your air and hotel reservations, along with local sights, weather, and airport check in.

What both apps have in common is how cleverly they use email for input.

With TripIt, you just forward all the emails from the airlines and the hotels to plans@tripit.com. The app does all the data entry drudgery, determining who you are from the sending address, then parsing the email to extract structured travel data from the free text message.

With HiRise, you blind-carbon copy a special drop box, something like dropbox@999999997.rkg.highrisehq.com. Again the app does all the hard work, determining who you are from the dropbox subdomain, parsing the email to determine where to file it it the CRM system, and associating the message with the right people and companies and dates.

Forwarding an email is really simple. Bccing an email is really simple.

If I had to visit the sites to type in my data, I would not use them. But because using them is so easy, I'm now a fan of both.

What initiatives do you have on the table to make your e-commerce site easier to use?


5 Responses to "Effective Websites: Forwarding Email As Convenient Means To Enter Data"
Mike Moran says:
I will check out both of these, Alan. I never thought of using e-mail this way before I started using gootodo as my to-do list. I can send e-mails to it (Monday@gootodo.com) and it puts it on my to-do list for that day. And I love using bcc: on an e-mail so that a follow-up just lands on my list for the right day. For those of us that live in e-mail, these kinds of e-mail based input techniques are a godsend. Thanks for showing me a couple more.
Megapixels says:
That is a really novel way of using email. Kind of in reverse to the conventional way of thinking. I planning a big trip this fall, and will give these sites a run as I get confirmations in.
evbart says:
I'm a big fan of using e-mail a way to pass data and enter data! Its obviously the most basic standard, so it can work with everything. My company's app, Angelsoft, allows you to create new deals in the system simply by forwarding an email. Here's a great list of other sites that do things based on email: http://www.labnol.org/internet/email/access-websites-over-email-without-internet-connection/1660/
evbart says:
I'd love to see Highrise be able to parse the rest of the contact information! Tel: Fax: Address: etc


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